By day mild-mannered Chris Baldie and Michael Park work together for Glasgow design company Papertank, but by night they become the dynamic creative team behind one of the very best self-published comic about at the moment, "Space Captain".
In other hands the slightly cartoony style of the art could work against the tone of the comic, but Chris handles things superbly. Its amazing how well he can depict emotions with that moustache and a pair of thick, but very mobile eyebrows. he seems to have similar tricks for many of the other, less human, characters.
This is not the science fiction of 2000AD. Its less frantic and rebellious, more thoughtful and cerebral. There is no lack of action or adventure but that is mixed with more poingent moments that add to the impact when the action occurs. Space Captain is not a space hero, he's an ordinary bloke in an extraordinary circumstance. The reader comes to care about him and understand the quest that drives him very quickly. Chris and Michael have done a superb job with the writing and the art, and in blending to the two together - often the biggest fault of self-published comics.
If it sounds like I'm gushing, its because I am. I'm a big fan of European comics, the albums produced by Cinebooks and occasionally Fantagraphics. I could easily see Space Captain being published in that format and to that audience. It looks good enough and it reads just as well. There are no allowances to be made for this this being a self-published comic, nothing about the energy and enthusiasm overcoming slightly sub-standard art or scripting. Judged against all of the comics I've read in the past couple of years, from both established publishers and small-press outfits, Space Captain is among the things I've enjoyed most and I can't wait for the next issue
Space Captain Shop - click here.
I'm aware that all of my reviews at the moment are tending to be very positive. I guess that's because I'm writing about what I like. i do have a pile of small press comics to get to and I'm sure that things will change. But in the meantime this is really a very good comic that deserves to be seen far and wide.